David Lammy: Starmer is right to embrace Tony Blair's legacy

6 August 2021, 08:30

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

David Lammy has said Sir Keir Starmer is right to say the Labour Party should embrace Tony Blair's legacy.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Sir Keir said he would "turn the Labour Party inside out" to show it was serious about winning power and said members had to "get real" about damaging internal rows.

And he told the newspaper he had one goal: "To win the next election."

Asked about Sir Keir's comments, Mr Lammy told LBC's Tom Swarbrick: "It would be bizarre if you weren't prepared to embrace a winning legacy that saw the Labour Party forming a government on three successive occasions - investment in public services, our schools lifted up after many, many years languishing ... waiting times cut, peace in Northern Ireland, a minimum wage, the list continues.

"Of course, there were controversial moments like Iraq, where I don't want to dispute that, but the truth is ... we are not going to form a government if we continue to hang our dirty linen in public, we have got to bring the linen in from the line, we have got to recognise those of all political persuasions within the party that have been part of Labour's success in the past and we have got to move forward, and so I think Keir Starmer is exactly right."

Sir Keir's leadership has been questioned by some on the left of the party since he took over from Jeremy Corbyn in April last year.

Factional disputes within the Labour Party have often been blamed for distracting from the task of opposing the Conservatives and have prompted multiple calls for unity.

But Sir Keir told the Financial Times: "We have to turn the Labour Party inside out and that's what we've been doing for the last 18 months."

He added: "Too many of our members and supporters think winning an internal argument in the Labour party is changing the world - it isn't. We've got to get real."

He said the party should be "very proud" of what was achieved under former prime ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

He said: "We have to be proud of that record in government and not be arm's length or distant about it."

Labour has lost the last four general elections and the 2019 result under Mr Corbyn was the party's worst since 1935.